Devin Haney (25-0, 15 KO’s) will defend his WBC Lightweight title against former three division champion Jorge Linares (47-5, 29 KO’s) this Saturday from Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The bout will be broadcast by DAZN in the United States.
As of this writing Haney is a massive favorite coming in at -1250 whereas Linares can be had for the underdog price of +700. The over/under is at 7.5 rounds with the over sitting at -125 and the under at -106. Finally, one interesting prop bet that has been posted is Haney to win by KO/TKO/DQ at -200.
Well, this is the classic matchup in boxing of the young up and coming potential star stepping up to face off against a well-respected former champion. Oddmakers seem to think this will be relatively easy work for the rising star in Haney. But are these odds justified and can we find a reason to take a stab on Linares?
Linares has five losses on his resume. All those losses have been inside the distance and twice he has been stopped in the first round. There is no way to hide the fact that his chin is a question.
Linares is also just 3-2 in his last five fights. One of those losses was by first round TKO to veteran Pablo Cesar Cano. Cano is not known as a murderous puncher but seemingly hurt Linares with everything he landed in their very brief encounter.
So not only is the chin a question mark for Linares but he seems to be trending downward. Hence the reason the odds are so tilted against him in this fight.
I will say in regards to those early stoppage losses that Linares seems to have an issue getting started in fights. Throughout boxing history we have seen fighters with this similar issue. James Kirkland for example is someone who comes to mind. Once Linares gets his motor reviving his chin seems to get better. Let’s keep this in the back of our minds for now.
Haney is as good and talented a young fighter as I have ever seen in my thirty plus years following the sport. As a matter of fact I haven’t seen this kind of talent since a young Floyd Mayweather Jr. was making his way up the ranks over twenty years ago.
Haney has elite hand speed. I would say at this moment maybe only Gary Russell Jr. has faster hands (and that’s certainly debatable). Haney is also extremely athletic with naturally fluid movement inside the ring. He has all the tools in the tool bag including a stinging left jab and elite footwork. And not only is his offense good but his defense is well above average. Again just a special talent with as high a ceiling as I have even seen in this sport.
But there is always a question with young up and coming fighters. What happens when they face real adversity inside the ring? Haney has faced some decent fighters but nobody has yet really tested him and none of the names on his resume come close to the talent level of Linares.
Boxing history is also littered with examples of young up and coming fighters being exposed once they step up significantly in class. We just saw this last week when Kenneth Sims Jr. pulled a stunning upset against Elvis Rodriguez (though I do think Rodriguez will bounce back from that setback).
Remember Francisco Bojado? He had similar hype to Haney on his way up the ladder. The talent was for real with Bojado but when he got pushed in a fight for the first time he didn’t react well.
Haney has never been pushed or really tested in a fight. It is going to happen at some point. But it hasn’t happened yet and nobody knows, not even Haney, how he will respond.
Talent wise Haney is levels above Linares. Linares can’t come close to matching his speed or athleticism. But Linares does have vast experience on the big stage and does have skill. He is extremely fluid inside the ring and has excellent timing. Well timed punches can beat speed, so yes I do see a path for Linares to potentially push Haney.
My hunch here though is that Linares has lost a step and that timing just won’t be the same. Haney’s athleticism will be too much and I see Haney landing clean shot after clean shot while avoiding most of what Linares is attempting to chuck back.
Haney might not be a huge puncher but he is a sharp puncher who gets his opponent’s respect. Again, very similar to a young Mayweather. Linares has shown a propensity to cut in the past and I think Haney pieces up the veteran here for a mid to late round stoppage.
Since there is risk in the unknown of what happens when Haney faces adversity I won’t be touching the -1250. But I do like him to win inside the distance. And remember what I mentioned earlier about Linares being a slow starter vulnerable early to getting caught cold? I don’t mind a play on a Haney win in round one just in case that happens again.
Nordine Oubaali vs. Nonito Donaire, 05/29/2021
Nordine Oubaali (17-0, 12 KO’s) will defend his WBC Bantamweight title against former five division world champion Nonito Donaire (40-6, 26 KO’s) this Saturday from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, CA. This fight will be broadcast on Showtime in the United States.
As of this writing Oubaali is listed as a -278 favorite whereas Donaire can be had for the underdog price of +225.
Donaire is a testament to what living a clean healthy lifestyle while always staying in peak condition can do for a boxing career. He has defied the odds time and time again to be still fighting at an elite level. Now at 38 he looks to turn back the clock once again to put an exclamation point on his Hall of Fame career.
Oubaali is no spring chicken at 34 but has a lot less tread on his tires than Donaire. Oubaali is a southpaw boxer puncher by trade. He possesses excellent lateral movement and works behind a sharp right jab to set up his combinations. In addition he is a very good counterpuncher and will often use feints to attempt to bait his opposition into throwing to set up those counters. And defensively Oubaali is very sound with good head movement.
Being a counterpuncher Oubaali likes to keep his right hand low. This appears to be intentional as he is trying to get his opponents to throw first. But this does leave him open to being hit by the left hook.
Donaire is coming off a brutal war against the ferocious punching Naoya Inoue in November of 2019. As a matter of fact this fight was named fight of the year by The Ring. Donaire impressively hung in there with a fighter unanimously considered one of the pound for pound best in the sport.
On the flipside Donaire also took a beating in that fight against Inoue. And Donaire has been thru his share of wars as well as beatings in the past.
One big question coming into this fight against Oubaali is just how much does Donaire have left in the tank? Yes, he has defied the odds so far but a day will come when he steps in the ring and it is just not there anymore. Certainly coming off such a brutal fight against Inoue this is a real possibility to happen on Saturday.
So am I all-in on Oubaali? No, and the reason is simple. The last thing to go from a fighter is his power. Donaire still possesses thunder in that left hook and it just takes one to land flush on Oubaali to end things. As I mentioned earlier Oubaali does keep his right hand very low. If he employs that same tactic here the risk of running into that Donaire left hook increases exponentially.
This is a tough one to call. If you are backing Oubaali my suggestion would be to take the prop odds of him winning by decision. Donaire has a rock-solid chin and Oubaali is not a big puncher. Unless there is a cut or something else unusual Oubaali’s path to winning seems to be by outpointing Donaire.
If you are backing Donaire my suggestion would be to take the prop of him winning by KO/TKO/DQ. Right now SugarHouse has not posted those odds but I see other books floating that number around +450. It not impossible to see Donaire turning back the clock again and winning a decision but in all probability if he wins it will be on that left hook starching Oubaali.
My official pick is Oubaali. I just think the Inoue fight may have taken too much out of Donaire. But this is not a pick with high confidence and I can easily see it going the other way.
Batyrzhan Jukembayev (-137) vs. Subriel Matias (+110) – I first came across Jukembayev as few years ago and thought he was an elite prospect who could potentially be a future superstar. Okay, maybe he hasn’t progressed like I initially thought but this is still a highly skilled fighter with more than enough tools to someday capture a title belt. I know Matias is a big step up in class for Jukembayev but I think Jukembayev puts his name on the radar with a statement performance. This is by far my favorite bet of the week.
Jason Quigley (-250) vs. Shane Mosley Jr. (+200) – When this fight was announced I pegged that Quigley would be a slight favorite. Both are relatively close in terms of their skillsets with maybe Quigley’s more extensive amateur experience giving him a slight edge. But I see this as essentially a coin flip and with Mosley sitting at +200 right now can’t resist a small play on him at those odds. If the odds move to say anything around a pick em for this fight then I’d simply pass but where they sit right now Mosley is the play.
Final Ticket (based on a $1000 bankroll wagering no more than 5%)
Haney by TKO/KO/DQ (-200) – $10 to win $5
Haney to win round 1 (+2000) – $5 to win $100
Oubaali to win by decision (-152) – $10 to win $6.58 (odds from Bet365)
Jukembayev to win (-137) – $20 to win $14.60
Mosley Jr. to win (+200) – $5 to win $10
Good luck to everyone.